METROPOLIS, IL (KFVS) - Harrah’s Casino in Metropolis, Illinois has closed its doors due to flooding along the Ohio River on Monday, Feb. 18.
According to Harrah’s as of 6 a.m. on Feb. 18, rising water levels on the Ohio River forced Harrah’s Metropolis to close until further notice.
A spokesperson for the casino, Chad Lewis, said on March 4 that they have to wait for the river to start receding before they can go back in to start making repairs which be at least another five days before they will even be able to enter the casino.
Employees are volunteering at Twin Oaks Living Center, the Budget Store at St. Vincent de Paul, and bulding a wheelchair ramp in Metropolis.
Lewis said they are expecting minimum damage to the exterior of the building, but that the inside of the casino and hotel have not been affected.
Some of the employees from the marketing department and others have been working out a satellite office doing work.
Many others have been doing volunteer work in the community at places like Project Hope, Goodwill, and helping with sandbagging.
Frequently changing river forecasts make it difficult to determine a time in which the hotel and casino will reopen.
The floodwaters stood in the parking lot on Feb. 18, the front entrance and even rising up the ramp to the hotel entrance.
While many of the employees from the Casino are not working, one group has rolled up their sleeves to help mitigate the problem.
Business Owner Drew Quint and four of his employees stopped his current jobs to help the casino out with the emergency.
Quint says that he and the workers are “moving rock and building this temporary access road, and are building it about three feet tall.”
Due to the high water, the casino needs a temporary access road from the the main to the front doors for the small “necessity crew” still working working.
Even though Harrah’s is closed to the public, staff was asked to go in for their regular shift on Monday because there were the last guest checking out of the hotel this morning.
Quint says it’s like deja vu all over again.
“Unfortunately for them and a lot of people, we are back doing it again this year, .just trying to do whatever they need," Quint said.
Harrah’s Advertising and PR Supervisor Chad Lewis says they were forced to shutdown the casino and hotel for safety reasons.
“The casino is not flooded" Lewis said. “The barge is not flooded by no means, but what is happening, is the water is getting around all the emergency exits, and by law we can keep those open due to water blocking those.”
In 2011, the casino saw its worst flooding according to Lewis.
Even last year, Harrah’s had to shutdown because of high waters.
Due to the consecutive high waters, Lewis says everyone has gotten used to it.
“We are kind of numb to it now, so we kind of know how to roll with the punches here, and we just have to stick with it," Lewis said. “And once the river recedes, we’ll get back to it.”
Harrah’s employees who are not working will be volunteering at non-profits in the area.
If there are any non-profits nearby the Metropolis, Illinois that may need assistance such as cleaning, organizing, mentoring, etc. to please call 618-524-2628 to be included on the list of volunteer opportunities for the Harrah’s Metropolis employees.